Levi’s will test AI-generated clothing models to ‘increase diversity’
Levi’s will begin testing AI-generated clothing models later this year in a bid to diversify the iconic denim company’s online shopping experience. The planned experiment was revealed last week alongside Levi’s partnership with Lalaland.ai, a digital fashion studio that creates realistic AI-generated fashion models.
Currently, most products advertised on the Levi’s app or website can only be viewed on a single clothing model. The AI clothing models created by this partnership could be more body-inclusive, allowing customers to view what an article of clothing would look like on a multitude of models spanning a wide range of body types, ages, sizes, and skin tones. In theory, that should help consumers who are frustrated when clothing items aren’t modeled on a body that resembles their own.
Levi’s claims using AI-generated models to promote diversity is more “sustainable”
That sounds great on paper, but the announcement leaves several questions unanswered. Levi’s doesn’t say which platforms the AI models will be available on or if the models themselves will be user-customizable. The company also claims this will be more “sustainable” but doesn’t explain how. We’ve reached out to Levi’s for clarification and will update should we hear back.
There’s also the question of how many real models could be impacted by the experiment. Levi’s has been trying to slash operating costs and save money in recent years, laying off 800 employees in 2022 and 700 roles in 2020. In its press release, Levi’s said that it doesn’t see AI-generated models as “a sole solution” to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion and that it isn’t looking to replace real models with the technology — instead claiming the AI-generated models will “supplement human models” to create a more “personal” shopping experience for its customers.
“While AI will likely never fully replace human models for us, we are excited for the potential capabilities this may afford us for the consumer experience,” said Amy Gershkoff Bolles, global head of digital and emerging technology strategy at Levi Strauss & Co.
Other companies have alternatively adopted augmented reality (AR) technology to help consumers visualize how clothing would look on their own bodies. Last September, Walmart introduced its Be Your Own Model experience that allows users to virtually try on clothing using their own photographs and AR tech. Amazon Fashion also partnered with Snap last year, providing Snapchat users with the ability to virtually model branded glasses and sunglasses using AR filters.